“This is it, see you later.”
They were the words running through Ali Brown’s head just over a year ago as she sat opposite an unmoving Peta Searle and Jamie Cox.
In Brown’s mind, it was the classic exit meeting scenario; her gritty fightback to return to the AFLW after being delisted by Carlton in 2017 cruelly at its end.
"It was around the time they were cutting the Southern Saints’ VFL squad, so I went in there going ‘this is going to suck’,” Brown told saints.com.au.
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“They sat in there and there was an awkward bit of silence, and then they started summing up my career and I was straight away thinking ‘’I’m gone now’.”
Little did Brown know that she was about to write her name into St Kilda’s record books.
As she braced for the news of another crushing delisting and that her time in the red, white and black was over, the 21-year-old Brown was told the exact opposite: it was just beginning.
Ali Brown became the first female Saint signed in the club’s 146-year history, paving the beginning of the club’s landmark journey to the AFLW.
“My reaction in the video is so bad, but I was just so speechless,” Brown said.
“Peta and Jamie were so serious; I was so scared. I guess it was for dramatic effect for the video, but it really gave me a heart attack.
“I’m still shocked they chose me.”
When she ran out for the Blues in the inaugural AFLW match at Ikon Park in 2017, she had only played seven games of footy at any level of competition.
The lively mid was delisted at season’s end, and after being overlooked in the National Draft, was determined to prove herself after plying her trade in the VFLW for two years.
She still remembers the deafening roar from that landmark match at Ikon Park.
For her, it was one of the best nights of her life.
The electric crowd overflowing onto the concourse, the historic occasion with women’s footy stepping into the limelight and the significance of her journey culminating into this one, indescribable feeling.
And now, some three years later in new colours, she’s ready for that feeling again.